LETTER: Warning to new councillors not to leave 'an idle and empty seat that disrespects the residents who put them there' by former deputy mayor
PUBLISHED: 11:17 14 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:17 14 May 2019
Until this month Alison Arnold was an Ely city councillor and deputy mayor. She lost her seat in the local elections. Here she expresses a point of view about the make-up of the newly elected council.
I wonder which of the new recent elected Ely councillors are in for a learning curve or disappointment when they discover what services, duties and powers a parish council actually have; some might even be disillusioned that's it not even meant to be party driven.
When they fully understand the workings of Ely parish council and realise that they will be expected to work as a team member of a committee for the wider benefit of the community, with the willingness, to represent that community as whole will be a telling time if it was only seats they wanted to claim, rather than genuinely serve in their role for all the community.
As often political parties field 'official' candidates to stand at parish council elections, unlike those that are not biased or partisan towards any particular group, but put themselves forward because they are committed enough to stand without prompting from a paid membership to a political party.
I hope the new councillors at Ely parish council have better values and commitment to serve the community, than some whom have been re-elected, who play non stop on their mobile phones in committees. That is a failure in their obligation in paying attention and taking an active role to matters in hand, which consequently leads them to abstain on 99 per cent of voting. That is should they actually attend meetings (in which they very rarely do).
Also on the rare occasions they do turn up, they never put themselves forward either when a job is needed, because it makes them accountable in getting it done. Nor do they give support or volunteer for any council led events or step up to council representation on any of their outside associations.
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Unfortunately parishioners voted for them, for what? Because my observation since 2014 will be probably the same for the next four years; an idle and empty seat that disrespects the residents who put them there.
Councillors have a responsibility to attend meetings when summonsed to do so. The notice to attend a council meeting is, in law, a summons, because they have a duty to attend.
EDITOR'S FOOTNOTE: Alison joined the city council in 2011 by co-option and retained her seat in the May 2015 elections uncontested. She was a North Ward councillor. Her committees included environment, Christmas lights and planning. She also sits on the Ely in Bloom working group and is the City Council's representative on Prickwillow Village Council and the East Cambs Access Group.
As deputy mayor she would have expected to have become mayor for 2019/2020 until losing her seat on May 2.